The Japan of Monster Musume works hard to create a more inclusive society through the Interspecies Cultural Exchange Act. Now that demihumans live among the population, humans must figure out how best to adapt to a changing world. This is a show about overcoming differences, reaching understandings and expanding horizons...with plenty of romance and wackiness on the way. Friends, girlfriends, government agents—meet all these and more as we explore the world of Monster Musume!
1. Kimihito Kurusu (Junji Majima)
Kimihito is your average student, which makes him your average ecchi protagonist. His parents work abroad, so he lives alone in their spacious Tokyo home. This is convenient for him; the Interspecies Cultural Exchange Act mandates that each demihuman must live with a host family, so he needs the space to provide for his housemate, an affectionate half-snake-half-woman lamia. But through a series of accidents and government oversights, he quickly finds himself hosting two more beautiful monster girls. Then four more, then five more, and on and on, faster than he can keep up with them. And without exception, they all want to date and marry him!
If Kimihito has one defining trait, it's that he's accommodating to a fault. He's virginal, shy and conflict-averse, and he's powerless to protest as the government packs his home with more and more once-mythical creatures. Episodes generally revolve around him trying to untangle the latest mess the girls have gotten him into, whether it's dealing with their odd behavior at a full moon or inadvertently hiding illegal monster immigrants.
But Kimihito's overly patient nature also makes him one of the most compassionate people you'll ever meet. He's a natural magnet for the demihuman girls that surround him, due to his unprejudiced, understanding approach to the strange and unfamiliar. Perhaps it's the fact that he treats everyone equally, regardless of species, that makes him a repeat candidate for monster hosting. It's probably also due to his doormat tendencies.
Push him too far, however, and you'll find yourself in hot water. Kimihito is deeply devoted to the girls assigned to him and doesn't hesitate to stand up for them, whether they're being harassed by racists or threatened by other demihumans. He spends 90% of any episode with a blank, dumbfounded expression, white anime eyes and all. When someone he cares for is sad or in danger, he shifts to a normal face—eyes bright and attentive, symbolizing his willingness to keep them safe and loved. This is generally followed by a comforting word where it's wanted or a devastating punch to any nearby threat. Add in his excellent domestic skills—he's great at sewing and the only cook in the house—and you have the perfect boyfriend.
Ultimately Kimihito sets an example for the rest of society to follow. He's motivated, self-reliant and fiercely protective of those around him, as well as accepting of others' differences. He's often contrasted with other characters who are less willing to integrate or even openly hostile to demihumans, and always comes out on top when such encounters get dangerous. His trusting nature makes him easy to take advantage of at times, both by the government and by amorous monsters, but his determination to do the right thing rewards him with friends who would do the same.
Take a good, long look at his name, by the way, because that's pretty much the last time you'll see it used. Everyone else calls him Darling or some other pet name, even the government agent assigned to his case—and who's to say he doesn't deserve the affection?
2. Miia (Sora Amamiya)
The first of Kimihito's guests, Miia is a lamia: half snake, half human. She was placed with Kimihito due to a clerical error, but decided to stay with him when he accepted her anyway. As a result she is deeply in love with "Darling," as she calls him, frequently attempting to sleep with him despite the laws against it.
Miia tries to repay Kimihito's kindness by helping out around the house, she is a notoriously terrible cook; ironic, given that Sora Amamiya also voiced the culinary genius title character of Akame ga Kill! As a lamia, Miia is cold-blooded, and goes dormant if her body temperature falls low enough. She tends to curl up in bed with Kimihito to warm up in the morning, but this generally leads to amorous advances. She's nearly killed him this way on more than one occasion, given that she likes to coil all seven meters of her body around him!
Her love for Kimihito is matched only by her fierce jealousy toward anyone she believes to be trying to steal her boyfriend, although she slowly gets used to the other girls in the house. As the series progresses, she learns to cooperate with the other monster girls to protect their Darling from various threats, such as mysterious stalkers or feral demihumans. She's strong, fast, and an excellent climber, as befits her species; other than the cold, her one weakness is the extra-sensitive tip of her tail. Only Kimihito gets to take advantage of that...or he would, if he were so inclined.
3. Papi (Ari Ozawa)
This harpy, or bird girl, first meets Kimihito when she kidnaps him from his home and brings him to a local park. She's a repeat runaway from the authorities and completely disregards the rule that demihumans may not go out without their guardians. Papi doesn't mean any harm, though—she's simply childlike, free-spirited and absent-minded. A literal "birdbrain," she struggles with difficult concepts and often forgets simple things after a few steps...even her own name at one point!
After Kimihito vouches for her to prevent her from being deported—or "deflowered," as she puts it—she latches on to him out of gratitude. She makes friends easily and is popular among the local children, and is the first to welcome Suu the slime into their home. That same loyalty makes her quick to leap to Kimihito's defense and assert her romantic claims on him. Though she looks like a young girl, that's actually just her biology; harpies by nature are small and light to make flying easier.
As a harpy Papi has wings instead of arms, making it difficult for her to get dressed on her own, and like any bird she regularly lays eggs—which, oddly, she has no problem eating. In fact, she'll eat pretty much anything, except for Miia's cooking. Biological realities and her own naive nature lead to a number of misunderstandings, including an encounter with an unscrupulous director of demihuman fetish videos. Fortunately, she has razor-sharp talons to defend herself with, as well as backup from a devoted boyfriend and group of dangerous monster girls.
4. Cerea (Natsuki Aikawa)
Centorea Shianus, or "Cerea," is Kimihito's third monster girlfriend. A stereotypical European centaur, Cerea is tall, busty, and blonde, with an odd tendency to speak in medieval language. Her race is obsessed with honor and chivalry, and her initial encounter with Kimihito is part of her quest to find a man worthy of marriage. After Kimihito saves her from a purse snatcher, she pledges her undying gratitude to him.
Cerea initially does not get along with Papi and Miia, and is usually the most levelheaded of the three of them. However, her code of honor often blinds her to irony and deceit, and she is easily manipulated. She's especially bad at telling fantasy from reality at times; her first encounter with Suu conflicts with everything she knows about slimes from video games, and she mistakes manga tropes—such as running into someone in a hurry—for Japanese romance spells.
Cerea is proficient with swords and bows, which are both traditional weapons for centaurs, and is quick to take up arms in defense of her boyfriend. Her staunch devotion to Kimihito also hides a deep-seated insecurity about whether she's an adequate mate for him, and she pushes herself to meet his expectations, often with disastrous results. With a host as understanding as he is, of course, she has nothing to fear.
5. Suu (Mayuka Nomura)
The fourth monster girl to move in with Kimihito. Suu is a slime, a totally liquid species not yet included in the Interspecies Cultural Exchange Act. She appears in Kimihito's house during dinner without explanation, and though she is speculated to be an illegal alien, Kimihito is allowed to look after her. The playful Papi is the first to befriend Suu and gives her her name, as Suu does not appear to have a sentience of her own. Able to alter her form to mimic anyone and anything, Suu tends to copy those around her. As she is surrounded by monster girls with poor self-control, she quickly joins in on the groping.
Suu can change her size depending on how much liquid she's absorbed. She will dilute in large bodies of water and evaporate without access to moisture, and she often attacks her housemates when she's thirsty. These feeding sessions, true to the ecchi genre, are invariably and accidentally lewd, and she often endangers Kimihito by suffocating him with her semi-permeable body.
As little is known about Suu's species and biology, she frequently surprises everyone else with previously unknown powers, such as reading minds with the pseudopod on her head. She also begins to develop an intelligence of her own the more information she absorbs from her surroundings, and falls in love with Kimihito on her own initiative rather than simply by instinct and imitation.
6. Mero (Haruka Yamazaki)
Meroune Lorelei is a mermaid, the fifth demihuman to move in with Kimihito. He first encounters her in an out-of-control wheelchair, and saves her from crashing at the bottom of a hill. She moves in with him shortly thereafter, after which a pool is installed on the government's dime. As a mermaind, Mero is capable of breathing the air but must be careful about drying out. She has little experience with the surface and is eager to learn, but despite her politeness she can be naively blunt and offensive when speaking to others.
Amusingly, she commands VIP status at the local aquarium; as the manga reveals, she is actually a princess where she comes from. According to her, mermaid culture is infatuated with their portrayal in human legends, particularly The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. True to the ending of the original tale, a mermaid's greatest desire is to star in her own tragic love story. Mero is therefore perfectly comfortable with eventually losing Kimihito to another woman, a quirk which the other girls find profoundly odd.
7. Rachnera (Sakura Nakamura)
Rachnera Arachnera is an "arachne," or half-human, half-spider, and Kimihito's sixth girlfriend. She has had a difficult time adapting to society, bouncing between abusive host families and largely having been shunned by humans due to her terrifying appearance. She hears about Kimihito from a fetish video director who tries to film Papi laying an egg, and decides to kidnap this unusually patient human for herself. Surprised by Kimihito's acceptance of her monstrous form, she moves in with him.
Rachnera is the most mature and arrogant of the girls so far, initially viewing the rest of the harem as mere obstacles to her love for Kimihito. Eventually she comes to cooperate with them to protect their Darling, but still asserts a dominant role in the household. As a web-spinning spider girl, Rachnera has a penchant for bondage, frequently tying up Kimihito and the other girls in sexual positions for her own amusement. Though she has been burned multiple times by humanity, she is willing to give her boyfriend a shot if he is willing to look past her predatory nature.
8. Lala (Ai Kakuma)
Currently the newest addition to the household, Lala is a dullahan—a supernatural creature with the ability to remove her head from her body and live. She meets Kimihito after he encounters her headless body, having lost her head somewhere in the park. She moves in after he finds it for her, to the other girls' initial fear and discomfort. Although her head comes off, she can still feel everything her body feels. In a house with a curious slime and a BDSM-enthusiast arachne, this lends itself to all sorts of...unique opportunities.
Although she talks in mysteries and riddles about her power over death and Kimihito's constant peril, it is not yet known what connection she has with the underworld, if any. She does wield a terrifying scythe, making her a formidable member of Kimihito's growing harem.
9. Ms. Smith (Yū Kobayashi)
Known only by her code name, Ms. Smith is assigned to keep tabs on Kimihito's performance as host for the monster girls. Much of the series is driven by her actions, or lack thereof: she is overworked and lazy, preferring to delegate work to her subordinates and sponge meals off of Kimihito. She has a cavalier attitude toward her job, freely pressuring Kimihito into all manner of experiments on human/monster relations. This includes offloading monster girls onto him, remodeling his house to accommodate them, or forcing him to marry one of them to test proposed laws; after all, she knows he can't say no.
As presumptuous and inconsiderate as Ms. Smith can be, she is quite competent and efficient at her job when she wants to be. She is capable of showing up seemingly out of nowhere, keeps constant surveillance on Kimihito through private and public channels, and has a task force of monsters on hand to handle demihuman threats to society. Kimihito is a model for integration and understanding, after all, and she can't afford to let him down.
Ms. Smith calls Kimihito "Darling" and has him listed as such in her phone; whether she's just teasing him or hiding deeper feelings is still up in the air.
10. MON (Monster Ops: Neutralization)
A special forces team commanded by Ms. Smith and made up entirely of monster girls. As the Interspecies Cultural Exchange Act forbids human/demihuman conflict, they operate where human police cannot, and are first seen defusing a cell of orc terrorists demanding orc-centric erotica.
Zombina (Rei Mochizuki) is the team's leader. She is a zombie, unable to die naturally and capable of separating her body parts without injury. She has a gruesome sense of humor, and loves to dismember herself to freak people out. Her inability to die also enables her to handle normally fatal situations others cannot. She does not prey on humans, but likes meat, and likes it bloody.
Doppel (Saori Ōnishi) is a doppelganger and therefore MON's chief infiltrator. Able to take any form, she excels at undercover operations, but she is also detached from and largely uncaring of the world around her. Her strange sense of humor and quickness to boredom leads her to play bizarre and sometimes harmful pranks on others.
Tionishia (Yurika Kubo) is an ogre, giant in size, with a single horn on her forehead, and therefore the team's muscle. Despite this, she is the most feminine of the four; she loves cute and frilly things, and had to be expressly forbidden by Ms. Smith from adding lace to her uniform. At well over two meters tall, she is constantly frustrated by the fact that they don't make clothes in her size, and is thus attracted to Kimihito for his sewing skills.
Manako (Momo Asakura) is a "monoeye", or cyclops. She is small, shy, and self-conscious of her single massive eye. Although she is an excellent sniper, her single eye gives her abysmal depth perception up close, and she is prone to accidents if she isn't careful.
And many more...
Monster Musume draws from myths and legends the world over, and thus holds immense potential for new characters and adventures. The anime has mostly caught up to the manga by now; what new species will Kimihito have to deal with in the future? Whatever and whoever he meets, he's sure to take it in stride...with plenty of romance along the way.